Then a pseudonymous YouTuber called Viditor uploaded a compilation of them performing on South Korean army bases — and saved their careers.
“Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ rollin’/I am waiting for you/Babe just only you,” they chant, as wildly enthusiastic uniformed conscripts dance and wave glow-sticks.
It went viral and struck millions of chords across the country.
Less than a month later the song reached number one in South Korea and topped the Billboard K-pop 100 in the US, four years after it was originally released — with their popularity reinforced by their story of struggle against the odds.
The fan-led ascent is a reversal of the usual K-pop model, where bands are usually assembled, trained intensively, and launched by record companies, whose marketing and promotion are crucial to their success.
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